Recently in Management Category

Don't mind the quality - feel the width

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In a world obsessed with measuring things and trying to predict the future on a quantitative basis, recent events have shown it's a flawed strategy. In most organisations the mantras of "Show me the numbers" and "If you can't measure it, it doesn't count." form the basis of management practice.

With an economy wrecked by people that knew the price of everything but the value of nothing, we need to stop obsessing about measurement. We now know that the most important aspect of the problem we're working on just might be something we can't measure. It's time to kill off  management by spreadsheet.

So last decade...

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A sister-in-law -- who's a Mac User -- used my wife's (protected) PC over Christmas and downloaded a Trojan that took over a week to remove. I had to use all my old DOS and under the bonnet skills.

While railing against the vulnerability of the PC (despite the years of soft and hard upgrades) a young nephew flashed his iphone at me "that's the future old timer" he gloated. He's right. This decade will be defined by devices and the cloud services that support them. PCs are so last decade. Smartphones, slates, smartbooks, and eBooks are taking their place. Are you ready? I can't wait.

The last task in a project is to...

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The cost of failed Government IT projects was a news headline last night highlighting the naivete with which politicians thought technology was the panacea for ills. It again begged the question "Should IT projects exist?

When I was managing the IT for a large Government initiative I tried never to have a IT project - just projects that had an IT element. After all what we should be doing is helping organisations develop agile business processes to help them succeed rather than burdening them with costly, cumbersome technology infrastructures. However, while I laboured to get the point across the finger of blame for any failure - regardless of the reason - was neatly shifted to IT.

As the golden rule for protecting your backside demands - The last task in a project is to find someone to blame. In the politicians case it will be the IT never their own gullible selves.

The First Hundred Days

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I've just been asked what new CIOs should do in their first hundred days, or even those review their straegy for a new decade

For 30 days, do nothing -- except listen. Talk to your staff, customers, vendors, management and consultants. Review audit management issues; learn the status of systems and new initiatives.

Days 31 to 60. Choose whom to trust, develop a plan of action based on all you have learned. Carefully share parts of the plan as you go along by communicating the firm parts while testing otrhers befor finalising.

Days 61 to 90. Share your plan with all. Get feedback and modify it. Then let your team know that once the plan is "done" these will be their marching orders.

Days 91 to 99. Share the completed plans with everyone who will listen -- vendors, staff, peers, senior management. People need to know where you're going if you want them behind you. On 100, publish a high-level plan showing the sequence of all the major initiatives and begin to execute and communicate as appropriate.

From there on lead -- don't be like the French Revolutionary, Alexandre Ledru-Rollin who on seeing the storming of the Bastille said "There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader."

Men and Multi-tasking

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I've just finished a complex project. As the PM I started out thinking I'm going to be able to juggle a few other balls while the task is running. Everytime, the project gradually takes hold to the exclusion of everything else. Big or small, activities take on a life of their own and demand your full attention. Anyway the task is complete; on time and under budget. Now I've the freedom to get back to blogging.

With friends like that who needs enemies

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I was at a networking event the other day. A professional acquaintance standing in a group beckoned me over. "Hello" he said, before turning to the others and adding," Do you know Michael? A lot of people in the industry don't like him."

I was gobsmacked - not by what he'd said but by the open admission of what I'd long suspected. As my father said "It's not what you know! It's who you know." Now, if the people you know don't like you - your *!!*ed. It's just a shame it took me so long to find out. When I was managing a £4.5 million budget a lot of people appeared to like me.

Loosing your job is bad enough - loosing 25 years of professional connections is quite another thing. Moral of the story?  Your peers are the enemy.

Leaders 10 Worst Mistakes

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Apologies for not blogging but have had a funeral to deal with.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) have listed The 10 Most Common Failures of Bad Leaders  The Worst Leaders:
1. Lack energy and enthusiasm
2. Accept their own mediocre performance
3. Lack clear vision and direction
4. Have poor judgment
5. Don't collaborate
6. Don't follow the standards they set for others
7. Resist new ideas8. Don't learn from mistakes
9. Lack interpersonal skills
10. Fail to develop others

Anyone know any of these? :-)

Building Britain's Future - New Industry, New Jobs

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A strategic plan to invest in Britain's economic and industrial future was launched by the Government today by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Called Building Britain's Future it's worth following-up in case it's use to your firm - Money, Marketing and Mandelson seems to be on hand - if you qualify. Maybe spin of course -- so government health warning attached.

Only the Ref should blow the whistle

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It's not a courageous view but the news of the nurse struck-off reminded me of my whistle blowing. When you discover something wrong and exhaust internal procedures the desire to get what you know off your chest for the 'greater good' becomes overwhelming.

Sleepless nights and all the cliches that come with it drive you to act. Then you act and the battle starts. A David and Goliath struggle. Trouble is Goliath got his reputation by many victories long before David came along.

The psychology is simple. Regardless of your cause - no-one like a snitch and everyone knows the 'bully' is unlikely to loose. So if you see a whistle and fancy blowing it make sure you're dressed in black otherwise it's you that'll be shown the red card.


European thoughts and need to continue to move forward

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Its has been a few weeks since I last blogged. Its not that I have not wanted to but the amount of visits I have been making around Europe has simply meant when I have had those great 'blogging thoughts' its not been convenient to commit these to the net.

I have been seeking to find a thread that links the 7 or 8 countries I have visited. 

The economic situation is the obvious common cause but what has struck me is the desire to continue to innovate amongst all of the gloom we are faced with. 

Drawbridges are not being pulled up in a wholesale manner, yes there are delays and a general shrinkage of surplus staff, but there is no loss of desire to adopt and fully utilise new and evolving technologies in any of the countries I visited.

What we (the IT industry) are not doing right now is making compelling business cases. 

In many situations IT Management is looking at trimming its own costs and has generally become somewhat introverted. 

My manta has been to 'reach out into other areas of the business', and in the case of small businesses, 'reach out to your customers and suppliers' and work together to get the most out of technologies that can speed up business cycles, deliver business efficiencies (yes, cut costs) and prepare yourselves for the next wave of growth because as long as night follows day, day will follow night.

Optimism start here, starts now and will continue


The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the authors and do not represent either of our employer's views in any way. All postings and code samples are provided 'AS IS' with no warranties, and confer no rights.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Pincher published on August 5, 2008 4:00 PM.

The hidden cost was the previous entry in this blog.

French Letter #3 - The emergence of anti-social networks is the next entry in this blog.

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